Erik Borgen

Erik Borgen, 73, passed away at home on Sept. 7, 2012, after a long illness, with his wife by his side.

A funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, at Sitka Lutheran Church, followed by a short reception at St. Michael’s.  On Friday, a short service will be held at dock side at  ANB Harbor starting at 10 a.m. and then his ashes will be spread at sea.  He will be going on his last fishing trip with longtime friend and fishing partner, Walter Pasternak, aboard the boat Cristy Rob.

Erik was born Sept. 12, 1938, to John and Elisabeth Borgen in Bergen, Norway.

Erik’s first wife was Annette Thompson of Kasaan, and they had three children, Caron, Erik and Kristina. But eventually the couple chose different paths of life and went their separate ways.

Erik met his second wife, Barbara Sam, in July 1992 in Sitka.  On one of their trips to Reno, Nev., Erik surprised her by stating “We are getting married at 4 p.m. today,” May 22, 2008.  When Erik married Barbara his family was extended quite a bit – she has nine brothers and sisters.

Erik was a beloved husband, father and grandfather.  He went to Seattle in 1958 after working as a Merchant Marine from Norway.  In 1965, he became an American Citizen and was very proud of his new citizenship.  He owned two businesses including a Brick Masonry Company for over 20 years in Seattle. 

He then worked for Alaska Marine Highway System on  the ferry  Wickersham.  His next adventure was to become a commercial fisherman and he purchased his boat, the Byng.

He was good at all he had done but fishing was what he loved the best.  He commercial fished for as long as he could, even rigging up his boat with oxygen, but eventually had to sell his boat due to illness.  That was one of the hardest things he had to do – fishing was his whole life.  

He loved football and in the last few years he watched a lot of wrestling.  He also had a green thumb and gave all of his flowers names and would talk to them almost every day as he watered them.

He looked forward to visits from all his friends, traveled a lot with his wife, Barbara, and always enjoyed everything.

  Erik will be remembered for his generosity, sense of humor and his love of life,  his family said, and will be missed by all who knew him.

During his illness he tried a few hobbies but was unable to continue.  He built bird houses but the dust was too much so he had to stop building them.  

“Thanks to Dr. Coruzzi and Dr. Wein of Sitka Community Hospital especially the nurses and all the CNA’s,” his wife said. “My husband, Erik, had lots of doctors who took care of him and we would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time in his life.  Also a big thank you to the Sitka Fire Department for their quick response.”

The family also thanked all those who visited him during his last days. “Your friendship and generosity have been so nice and are greatly appreciated.”

After receiving notice of Erik’s passing Father Michael of the Russian Orthodox Church went to his home and gave him a bedside service within an hour.  And Rev. Sandra Rudd of Sitka Lutheran Church gave a short prayer on Friday the 7th and made numerous visits to the hospital, which Erik appreciated very much.

Erik was preceded in death by his parents, John and Elisabeth Borgen; great-granddaughter Aubrey Borgen; and extended family, mother-in-law Bessie Kitka, brother-in-law, Charlie Smathers and sister-in-law: Brenda Sam.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Borgen, of Sitka; his three children Caron Clay (Bill) of Huntington Beach, Calif, Erik John Borgen (Suzanne) of Lynnwood, Wash., and Kristina Garrity (Patrick) of Mill Creek Wash.; seven grandchildren, Jessica (Tyson) Avery, Brandon and Hailey Garrity, Christopher (Melissa) Borgen, Matthew (Jessica) Borgen, Amanda and Sophia Clay; two great-grandchildren, Trevyn Avery and Logan Borgen; nine great nieces and nephews; and his sister, Margot McEachern (Richard) of Escondido, Calif.

 His extended family includes brothers-in-law John Sam of San Jose, Calif., and Fred (Tina) and David (Jo) Sam of Anchorage, and Robert Sam of Japan.

His sisters- in-law are Wilma Smathers of Everett, Wash., Marie (George) Young, Chris (John) Paul and Evelyn (Tom) Schenck of Sitka.

 Erik had become close with his stepdaughter, Roxanne Drake-Burkhart (Ted), and stepson, Eric (Maria) Drake of Juneau, and Roxanne’s son Zachary and daughter Stephanie Burkhart.  When Zachary was 16 he went fishing with Erik for a season and ever since they called each other partner.  Erik also was teaching Zach how to do masonry work that same summer.  Zach has very fond memories of their times together and his children Kayley and Nicole were always excited to see Erik; they made each other laugh and the children said “Great-grandpa is funny!”

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